Mombasa, Kenya – Somewhat lost in the shock of Kenenisa Bekele’s departure during the waning moments of yesterday’s men’s 12 km race at the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, was the power, poise and determination displayed by Zersenay Tadesse, the man who succeeded him as World champion.
Consider this: Despite the brutal racing conditions, Bekele was competing as we’d come to expect, confidently biding his time before making his decisive move to claim a record sixth straight title. But then things began to unravel very quickly.
After experiencing some stomach problems, Bekele said, “Suddenly, I felt that my coordination was not good and that my mind was dizzy. I even started to doubt about how many laps I still had to run.” Confusion began to cloud his mind, Bekele said, “and I felt that I lost all my energy. I was slowing down and felt that I was losing control over my body as well as my mind. This is why I decided to stop the race.”